MedStar Washington Hospital Center Named Region’s First Certified Comprehensive Stroke Center

July 23, 2014

Distinct Honor Positions Stroke Center Among Top Industry Leaders Providing Highly Specialized Stroke Care

Washington, D.C., July 23, 2014 – MedStar Washington Hospital Center is the first and only hospital in the Washington region to be certified as a Comprehensive Stroke Center by The Joint Commission. The Hospital Center joins an elite group of only 73 medical centers nationwide to receive this prestigious designation, which focuses on providing a high level of care for patients with the most severe and challenging types of strokes and cerebrovascular disease.

Joint-Commissions-Comprehensive-Stroke-CenterComprehensive Stroke Centers are recognized as industry leaders, and are responsible for setting the standard in highly specialized stroke care nationwide. Certification is reserved for those institutions that have state-of-the-art capabilities and the expertise of stroke neurology, neurosurgery, including in neuroendovascular procedures, neurocritical care and stroke-specialty trained nursing and other staff who together have demonstrated in providing coordinated and consistent high quality care to treat patients with the most complex strokes. 

To achieve the recognition, MedStar Washington Hospital Center underwent a rigorous on-site review in May, when Joint Commission surveyors reviewed compliance with all comprehensive stroke center standards and requirements.

“We are extremely proud to have been recognized by the Joint Commission with its highest distinction for stroke care,” said Amie Hsia, MD, medical director of the Stroke Center at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. “This certification as a Comprehensive Stroke Center highlights our position as a leader in stroke care for the region, and the exceptional care we provide to our patients who come from all over the Washington, D.C., area and beyond.”

The Hospital Center’s Stroke Center has an established track record of progressive and innovative stroke care. In 2004, it forged a partnership with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to establish a stroke research program at the hospital with a focus on using MRI to develop new treatments for acute stroke. In 2005, the Stroke Center was the first in D.C. to earn the Joint Commission’s designation as a Primary Stroke Center. Furthermore, in 2013, the Hospital Center co-led the successful application to be among the first 25 regional coordinating centers nationwide of the new NIH-funded Stroke Trials network, or NIH StrokeNet.

Most recently, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association recognized the hospital with its 2014 Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold-Plus Quality Achievement Award and Target: Stroke Honor Roll for getting eligible stroke patients the clot-busting drugs within 60 minutes of arriving at the hospital. The honor roll was achieved by using MRI screening, a technique that is not widely practiced at other stroke centers. The Hospital Center is one of the few in the nation to use MRI as first line imaging in the diagnosis and treatment of acute stroke. CT is the typical imaging method used because it is more widely available.

“This advanced certification demonstrates MedStar Washington Hospital Center’s level of commitment in caring for patients with complex stroke conditions,” says Mark R. Chassin, MD, FACP, MPP, MPH, president and CEO, The Joint Commission. “Certification is a voluntary process, and we commend the Hospital Center stroke program for successfully undertaking this challenge to elevate the standard of its care for the community it serves.”

The Joint Commission’s Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification was developed in collaboration with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association and derived from the Brain Attack Coalition’s “Recommendations for Comprehensive Stroke Centers,” (Stroke, 2005), and “Metrics for Measuring Quality of Care in Comprehensive Stroke Centers,” (Stroke, 2011), and on recommendations from a multidisciplinary advisory panel of experts in complex stroke care.

For more information on The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association’s Advanced Certification for Comprehensive Stroke Center, visit or

About MedStar Washington Hospital Center

MedStar Washington Hospital Center is a 926-bed, major teaching and research hospital. It is the largest private, not-for-profit hospital in the nation’s capital, among the 50 largest hospitals in the nation and a major referral center for the most complex tertiary services. It consistently ranks among the nation’s top hospitals as recognized by U.S.News & World Report. The Hospital Center is a respected top facility in the areas of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes & endocrinology, gastroenterology & GI surgery, geriatrics, gynecology, nephrology, orthopaedics, pulmonology and urology. It operates MedSTAR, one of the country’s top shock-trauma and medevac programs, and also operates the region’s only adult burn center.

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So Young Pak
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Sylvia T. Ballinger
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